Nikhil T wrote:In July, there was news that the IAC 2's cost of construction of the carrier itself, without the aircraft, would exceed Rs 70,000 crore. That price tag is not a surprise because CATOBAR + EMALS + Hybrid conventional fuel/electric propulsion are all sensitive US technologies that will cost us an arm and a leg to buy and much more to operate.
If I have one wish for 2020, I hope IN can wean itself off this lofty plan to build, what is essentially, an American aircraft carrier in India and instead, invest in more home grown subs and capital warships. Aircraft Carriers are for force projection and I don't feel we can project force from something that is so heavily dependent upon US technology, because it is so incredibly prone to sanctions, trade wars, and tech denial. It was less than 20 yrs ago that we were under American sanctions. Given that Aircraft Carriers take 15 or so years to manufacture - it is possible that we may be under sanctions at some point during INS Vishaal's construction!
Second, fundamentally Aircraft Carriers are much more suited for US, who has 2-3 conflicts around the world at any given time with relatively weak militaries like Afghanistan, Iraq, or Syria who can't threaten their Aircraft Carriers. In contrast, both Pak and China have significant airforces and navies that can make losing an Aircraft Carrier a very real prospect for India, if we choose to field it in a future conflict. Even in 1971, we were scrambling to defeat the lone PN submarine, which unsurprisingly, was hunting for our lone Aircraft Carrier.
Given our enemies are close, I'd rather provide IN a dedicated set of fighters that they can use for maritime ops from Andamans and Dwarka in Gujarat, fully supported by dedicated tankers and AWACS.
Land-based ASW can only do so much, their persistence is much lower than an aircraft carrier group. The Indian Ocean is a very large ocean and it has to be kept in mind., it cannot be policed effectively by land-based assets alone.
India probably would need 5 carrier groups if sea control is the idea. , one group on each flank as well as one near to the African coast and another at eastern Andaman access region, one as the backup. But this armada would require 2 SSNs in each carrier fleet.
The only way to achieve this would be to ensure follow-on orders for both carriers and subs,
All these would remain on paper unless the economy improves and cash crunch eases.